Human Factor Named Biggest Challenge Facing Offshore Oil and Gas [SURVEY]

The Deepwater Horizon on fire.

Human factors has been named the biggest challenge facing the offshore oil and gas industry, according to a survey of industry professionals released today by Oil & Gas IQ.

The study found that 48.6% said that human factors and behavioral safety is the biggest challenge regarding offshore safety.  Also, nearly three-quarters of survey respondents claimed there was more pressure on offshore operators regarding Health and Safety (HSE) than there had been in previous years, no doubt fueled by recent oil spill disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon spill.

“Why do we always need a wake up call to get HSE right?” said Ian Stevenson, Group QHSE Director at Technip.

Stevenson adds, “If HSE wasn’t high profile before, it is now extremely high profile.  And we’re seeing that not just from a reputation perspective but all the way through to a pure technical perspective that it’s caught the attention of not just major oil companies, but the entire supply chain of the oil and gas business because, clearly, everybody is affected when an incident like this happens.”

The survey noted that 10.8% of respondents named problems with technology and equipment as a worry, with a similar number saying that having the right processes in place and reacting to new legislation were their firm’s biggest challenges.

The study was released ahead of the 2012 Offshore Safety Summit, taking place March 19-21 in Aberdeen.  In attendance at the event will be leading HSE and offshore safety specialists from oil and gas companies (ConocoPhilips, Total, Technip, ENI, Saipem, Talisman Energy, Tullow Oil, Maersk Oil and Statoil) as well as regulatory bodies and advisors such as the HSE and the API.  Key topics to be discussed will be the Step Change Initiative to reduce hydrocarbon releases by 50%, updated and best practice advice on preventing and responding to oil spills, detailed guidance on how to develop an adequate risk assessment strategy, and how to prepare for the regulatory changes on offshore safety about to be introduced by the European Commission.